Comparative Literature | Arthurian Literature and the Arts
C301 | 25171 | Rosemarie McGerr

Department of Comparative Literature Spring 2007
CMLT C301/CMLT-C 630
Topics in Comparative Literature
Topic: Arthurian Literature and the Arts
Instructor: Rosemarie McGerr	MW 1:00-2:15
*Fulfills COLL A&H and Culture Studies requirements*

Stories about King Arthur and his court represent one of the most
extensive and most complex traditions in Western literature, one
that crosses boundaries of historical period, language, literary
genre, and artistic medium.  This course will begin by studying the
origins of Arthurian narrative in Celtic mythology and its
development in medieval European literatures and arts, including
sculpture, painting, tapestry, and woodcarving.  We will then sample
the reappearances of Arthurian narrative in later literatures and
arts, including film.  We will examine Arthurian texts with two
goals: 1) to gain better understanding of the mythological,
aesthetic, and political forces that shaped them, and 2) to
appreciate the ways in which these works weave narrative threads
from the past into new texts that engage in dialogue with Arthurian
tradition as a whole.  Our readings will include Welsh tales from
the Mabinogion, Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of
Britain, Chrétien de Troyes’ Knight of the Cart, Wolfram von
Eschenbach’s Parzival, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Thomas
Malory’s Morte Darthur, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King,
and T. H. White’s The Once and Future King.  Films studied will be
Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Excalibur, and The Fisher King.


Students will take an hour test, write one analytical essay (6-8
pages) on a comparative topic related to the readings and films, and
take a final exam.